The unexpected death

by Claudia Ravaldi
CiaoLapo Onlus
CiaoLapo Onlus

The pending death is the result of years of exciting and fruitful work with bereaved parents and obstetricians.

Hundreds of testimonies written in the CiaoLapo forum, received at my email addresses, narrated in the course of self-help groups or in my professional studio, are intertwined with the stories of operators, obstetricians and gynecologists, who have shared knowledge and experiences with us and difficulties, allowing us to outline an assistance protocol that meets the needs of Italian users and operators.

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These pages contain the fruit of sharing pain, narrations and then reflections on one of the most tragic maternity experiences that must be faced in an obstetrics ward, the death of the expected child in pregnancy or after birth.

Furthermore, theoretical ideas and operational frameworks are offered, the result of the long dialogue with international realities that for many years have been studying and adapting perinatal bereavement assistance to the realities of their hospitals.

Some of the operational tools proposed have the purpose of supporting the professional’s practice under the communicative, welfare and psychological profile, with the competence of those who without taking on the problems of his patient, and therefore feeling overwhelmed by them, takes charge and therefore accompanies the patient in the difficult path of mourning and trauma.

The text takes into consideration the different types of loss in pregnancy and after childbirth , from spontaneous abortion in the first trimester to post-natal death, passing through the loss of one or more twins and termination of pregnancy due to pathology.

In the text, as indeed everywhere I go, I refer with the term “child” to every stage of pregnancy and after childbirth, starting from an etymological consideration and an experiential consideration: both fetus and embryo mean child , and in the minds of mothers who tell their desired pregnancies, I have never found phrases like “I am expecting a fetus” or “I am expecting an embryo”;

“I’m waiting for a baby” represents the way of communicating the new motherhood to oneself and to the world in the great majority of cases.

When a child dies, it is the same child I was expecting, and defining it as such can be helpful in recognizing their loss and starting to mourn.

Suitable for:

  • students of obstetrics, medicine, nursing sciences
  • doctors
  • midwives
  • nurses
  • neonatal intensive care workers
  • psychologists
  • counselor
  • psychotherapists

and for anyone wishing to deepen the basic principles of perinatal bereavement care and psychology.

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